“They say that you may always know the grave of a Virginian as, from the quantity of julep he has drunk, mint invariably springs up where he has been buried.”
Frederick Marryat, 1839
Memorial Day weekend is heralded as the unofficial start to summer, a time to kick up your heels and relax with friends and family. What I did not know is that on May 30th every year it’s also National Mint Julep Day. The mint julep originated in the south with first mentions of the drink in the late eighteenth century in Virginia taverns. In 1938, Churchill Downs started promoting the drink for the Kentucky Derby and each year around 120,000 juleps are served over the two day event.
The recipe can vary but it is very simple to make with just a few ingredients. Spearmint is the mint of choice typically and so refreshing.
Mint Julep by Honestly Yum
This iconic cocktail is so simple to make, yet there are a few tricks that will make your juleps a guaranteed winner.Servings: 1 cocktail
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1/2 oz rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water)
- 20 mint leaves
- crushed ice
- sprig of mint for garnish
- Start by removing the mint leaves from their stems and place in the bottom of the julep cup. Add simple syrup and muddle very lightly. If you don’t have a muddler you can use the back of a spoon. The goal is not to break apart the mint, but rather to release the oils from the mint, infusing the simple syrup with mint flavor.
- Next, add the bourbon and fill half of the julep cup with crushed ice. Stir using a bar spoon or swizzle stick so that the mint, syrup, bourbon and ice are thoroughly mixed. I crushed my ice in a food processor, but you can also use a blender or a lewis bag and mallet.
- Now that all of the ingredients have been added and you’ve given a quick stir, add even more ice. You’ll want to fill with crushed ice up and over the rim of the julep cup. At this point your drink will be ice-cold, and your cup frosty with condensation.
- Lastly, garnish with a large sprig of mint. Place your straw next to the garnish so you can smell the fresh mint while you sip.